Kirk Mangus (b.1952, Sharon, PA – d.2013, Kent, OH) was a vital Ohio artist whose career spanned disciplines of ceramics, drawing, painting, and sculpture. Drawn to traditions of storytelling and art’s abilities to connect us all, his work was simultaneously serious and witty, featuring characters both familiar and new.
Mangus grew up going to museums with his artist parents and began drawing and sculpting at a young age. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Rhode Island School of Design and his Master of Fine Arts from Washington State University. He was the recipient of many awards, including grants and fellowships from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council. He had an active studio practice, lecturing and exhibiting nationally and internationally. Mangus was appointed Head of Ceramics at Kent State University in 1985. For the next three decades, he fostered an environment of freedom and creative exchange for students that continues to influence new generations of artists today.
Though his practice spanned over four decades, Kirk’s work has a fresh and contemporary quality, regardless of when it was created. Driven by an unwavering desire to make, his work possesses a sense of freedom, humor, and chance, grounded in his understanding of wide-ranging art movements and traditions. Through his work, Mangus pushed the boundaries between art and craft, and reconsidered traditionally accepted ideals of beauty in art that continue to challenge viewers today.